“Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could be any different.” – Oprah Winfrey
WOW! Did that sentence hit me!
I’ve always believed that HOPE is the greatest thing ever and that it’s always good!
In every and any context, I believed that holding onto hope, having hope, and remembering our hope is one of the most fundamental aspects of realizing our dreams, growing, and becoming the best versions of ourselves.
(Even and especially when it’s really hard to do- when we’re in the thick of the pain of feeling hope-less).
And I still believe that to be true.
BUT – I never considered hope in the context of the past and the meaning of forgiveness like I did when I heard that sentence.
And WOW, did that blow me away and open up a whole new level of understanding and growth, and yes, ironically – even more hope in my heart :-).
I realized that may be the one context (looking at the past through the eyes of what it really means to forgive) when giving up the hope to somehow change what happened or letting go of all our wishing and fantasizing that it didn’t happen, is a good thing!
Whether that past is one when we’ve been wronged by someone else, whether we ourselves messed up and made some poor choices and mistakes, or whether life itself simply threw us a punch in the face – it happened. Holding onto the kind of hope of somehow erasing that or changing it, is only destructive. And it’s torturous.
But we do it because it’s easier to be angry than it is to be sad. It’s easier to feel like we’re in control and can change things than it is to feel like we can’t. It’s empowering to feel like a victor rather than a victim. It makes us feel strong and tough instead of weak and vulnerable.
It’s like this bandaid that temporarily stops the bleeding and covers up the pain. And it’s easier because anger can sometimes be an amazing motivator and driver that fuels and energizes us to take a stand, take action, and do something to right the wrong.
It’s easier because it allows us to falsely hold onto the hope that what happened could be changed; that the past could be any different.
That’s not sustainable though. Those bandaid benefits don’t last, and we only end up being held hostage by the pain of the past as we allow it to fester instead of healing that wound so that we can leverage it and learn from it to make a change today and in the future, where we actually do have control and agency.
We’ve been taught that getting angry makes us strong and tough and powerful. And sometimes, temporarily, it definitely does!
BUT – when we understand forgiveness in the context of giving up the hope that the past could be any different; when we understand and accept that we don’t have control or agency over the past, but we do have it in the present and for the future;
AND when we ALSO understand that forgiveness under this meaning does NOT equal you saying that what happened was ok, it does NOT exonerate the perpetrator (whether that perpetrator was you, someone else, or life itself), but rather it’s simply you accepting and acknowledging that it did happen without holding onto the hope, the anger, or the fight to somehow change that.
When we get all that, that’s when and where the real healing, the real strength, and the real empowerment comes from! And that’s sustainable and long-term lasting.
“It is accepting that it has happened to you; not accepting that it was ok for it to happen…When I go that, I think it took me to the next level of being a better person. It’s letting go so that the past does not hold you prisoner. Forgiveness is like medicine. Medicine that can heal your pain. It can bring you peace, and ultimately – to be FREE!”
– Oprah Winfrey
Trading your anger for that kind of forgiveness is totally up to YOU and you alone! No one else has that power over you. It’s hard, and forgiving yourself is by far the hardest thing you’ll ever do! I know that to be true. But it’s worth it.
Because when you do – WOW, the empowerment, the strength, the growth, and the freedom that you’ll feel is like no other! And no one can ever take that away from you!
“Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could be any different.” There are so many moments and sentences like that one in this video that wowed me and opened me up. If you want more like that, you have to watch this video, it’s filled with all kinds of WOWness! Enjoy :-).
As always, I hope this brought a little insight, love, understanding, inspiration, passion, or hope to your day :-). Thanks for reading this and being part of Seyopa.
Now, more than ever:
Do more of what you LOVE!
Be more of who you LOVE!
Seize Your Passion!
Stay safe, healthy, strong, and positive!
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